Smugglers ratchet up abductions in Phoenix
Arizona Daily Star
January 12, 2007

PHOENIX ? A woman leaving an eyeglass store is grabbed in the parking lot by four men who force her, kicking and screaming, into a pickup truck. The kidnappers demand a $900,000 ransom.

But police soon realize her family is holding something back and isn’t fully cooperating with them. Later, investigators find out that relatives have arranged the woman’s release on their own. And they discover that members of the family are heavy into marijuana trafficking.

The case illustrates how a terrifyingly common crime in Latin America has moved across the border into the United States: Criminals and their family members are being kidnapped by fellow criminals and held for six-figure ransoms.

The abductions are occurring in the Phoenix area at the rate of practically one per day, and police suspect they have led to killings in which bound and bullet-riddled bodies have been found dumped in the desert.

The kidnap victims are typically drug or immigrant smugglers, who are seen as inviting targets because they have a lot of money, they can raise large sums of cash on short notice, and they are unlikely to go to the police for fear that their own shady dealings will come to light.

“We have never had a victim that we have investigated that has been as clean as the new driven snow,” said Sgt. Phil Roberts, who investigates the kidnappings. “There has always been some type of criminal element to it. Either they are criminals, drug dealers or human smugglers ? or a close family member is.”

The kidnappers themselves are fellow traffickers who are doing it for the money or to punish their rivals.

Phoenix had more than 340 such kidnappings reported last year, but police said the real number is much higher because many cases go unreported.

The San Diego area also has seen a rise in kidnappings over the past year, with two or three reported during busy weeks, and some victims were mixed up in drug smuggling. But the hostage-taking appears to be most prevalent in Phoenix, the nation’s biggest base of operations for immigrant smugglers.

Kidnappings are common in Mexico, and the victims often include criminals as well as legitimate businessmen, such as bankers. Phoenix police said they believe the kidnappers here are not going after legitimate businessmen for fear that their families will go to the police……

2 Responses to “Mexico’s Drug Related Abductions Now Showing Up In Phoenix Area”
  1. The Watchdog says:

    And the Phoenix Mayor has his head in the sand. He calls those who protest illegal immigration “extremists, racists, and skinheads.”

  2. 1Madmomma says:


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